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Use social media responsibly, govt has spokesperson

IT is always noble to remind people certain things even if they know because some still take them light without realising that once they error, repercussions would weigh much on them or the public.

This comes at a time people have been using social media to share information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression legally intended to serve man (read public/citizens).

However, it becomes unfortunate that some individuals or groups of people resort to the same social media to circulate unsubstantiated information, whose motive at the end of the day causes unnecessary fear especially when the world is fighting pandemic coronavirus.

It is sad that despite the government making it clear repeatedly that it is the only mouthpiece to update and inform the public on the disease, a Morogoro resident as in HabariLeo yesterday, is being reported to be in police hands for misusing the media circulating unsubstantiated information on COVID-19.

This is not the right time and forum for any person, who is not authorised, not appointed government spokesperson to update on the disease.

Again, the public should be made aware that it is only the government through its authorised ministry allowed to inform, and advise the citizens on occurrence and management of any disease, because it has experts and machineries to do so.

Along the same line, it is sad to realise that there have been rumours, gossips and fake news with detrimental motives about the disease that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared pandemic, it should be noted that it is the only reputable body authorised to track and advise on any disease globally, not individuals acting on hearsays.

Those who usurp the government’s powers via the social media to share unfounded and baseless information should know that such rumours (with no reliable source to back them up) have destructive consequences, which include creation of conflict, victimisation, and decrease in production and morale of citizens to go about their businesses freely.

It should be known that any rumour repeated several times will have the same weight as noble truth and confuse the public, hence, should never be allowed to continue.

Rumours if not checked according to Psychologists can also lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, anxiety, and a host of other issues. It can also alienate friends, ruin reputations, and even lead to ostracising behaviour.

Along the same line, the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has repeatedly pointed out that social media platforms should not be used alarmingly to compromise Tanzanian values and traditions.

Hence, users of social media should know that there are regulations and conditions on using the media, simply to curb hate speech, vulgar language, and nude photos, which are inappropriate for the society and especially children.

ALMOST all media houses in Tanzania on Monday ...

Author: EDITOR

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